When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”~ Paul Coelho

"Some Mad Hope..."
A young and vital child knows no limit to his own will, and it is the only reality to him. It is not that he wants at the outset to fight other wills, but that they simply do not exist for him. Like the artist, he goes forth to the work of creation, gloriously alone.
Jane Harrison

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator

Jude Harzer Artist/Art Educator
My art is a reflection of my effort to recognize and embrace the beauty in the world around me, even when it seems most difficult to find. Contact me at judiharz@aol.com or visit my website at http://www.judeharzerfineart.com

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"Most of us have two lives- the life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance."Steven Pressfield

"The greatest freedoms are freedom from regret, freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, and freedom from sorrow."
Thich Nhat Hanh

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tell Me A Story

We each have a story to share. When repeated to ourselves and others, we not only perpetuate the essence of our past experiences, but we begin to believe that they somehow permanently define who we are and effect what we ultimately become. We often expand upon these personal tales and get stuck in them . We see ourselves as past hurts, lost loves, and failed friendships. Of course others contribute to our stories and those passages are much more difficult to edit or forget. During my recent graduate narrative painting class, I wanted to share the story of someone whom I felt tried with every ounce of her being to rewrite the events of her "past" life. The chapters of her youth are downright painful. Profound sexual , physical and mental abuse would  scar the psyche of just about anyone. My friend Teri is no exception. Her appearance betrays none of the ugliness that pervaded her life for decades. Part mask and part mission, Teri has spent her life furiously trying to shed the harm inflicted upon her and to abandon the  practiced , self imposed belief that somehow, she deserved all that she endured. Sharing the details of her saga would make for interesting and somewhat unfathomable reading but it might unnecessarily compromise the intention of my own work.

Teri bravely gave me permission to share her secrets. Perhaps one day I will. I ache from her story and so I decipher the pain the best way I know how, through my painting.My current work explores the influence of "Legacy", the inherited, shared and often imposed stories from generation to generation, that inextricably infiltrate our very being, with or without our consent. It often takes a lifetime to realize that we ourselves give power to the stronghold of these weights on our soul and psyche and only we can truly unburden and free ourselves from the past. So here I sat with Teri, her daughter Noelle and her grand daughter Zoe, three generations of beautiful women , all impacted by past legacies. As I interviewed Teri, it grew apparent that there was an enormous void caused by one of the most profound and painful chapters of her life.Teri helplessly witnessed the suicide of her 21 year old daughter Mary as she walked  in the path of an oncoming train.  This has become part of their legacy , as individuals, mothers, sisters and daughters. As I worked I wondered how does one refrain from giving power to such pain.There are no words, no right way, no time frame, no magic mode for healing.

These works are inspired by Teri, her daughters , Noelle and Mary and granddaughter, Zoe. They celebrate their legacy.

Legacy: On the Backs of Their Mothers

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Jude, Art and Inspiration